Fiat has confirmed that it will drop non-electrified models from its UK range as soon as July 1st. Perhaps no biggie in the grand scheme of things - more than 60 per cent of its 2021 line up was hybrid or electric - but it feels significant for a manufacturer as well established as Fiat. Doesn’t seem so long ago it was building its own take on the Mazda MX-5 with a parpy 1.4 turbo (because it wasn’t, really), though time is moving awfully fast in automotive right now. Fiat is just making its move a little sooner than others.
Let’s not forget, either, how many electrified cars are already in the Fiat range; it’s maybe not quite the giant leap it first seems. The new 500 is electric only, plus the Panda and old 500 are offered with mild hybrid options. The most significant range change will be for the 500X and Tipo, previously offered with conventional powertrains and with the hybrid option - a 1.5-litre four-cyl turbo with 48-volt starter generator - available from February. Again, that won’t sound like big news to the average PHer, but Fiat has sold more than a million Tipos since its launch and in excess of 750,000 500Xs. Even the small advantages of the new ‘Firefly’ 1.5 engine will make a difference with that sort of volume.
Greg Taylor, Fiat and Abarth UK MD, said: “This step in Fiat’s history marks a pivotal point in our commitment to providing affordable and sustainable mobility solutions for all of our customers. The move lends itself to our vehicles which are suited to urban areas, spearheaded by the popularity of the new 500.”
Fair point - nothing is more Fiat than the 500, and it has taken to electric power just nicely. But it does make you wonder what this move might mean for the future of Abarth 500s - because how does that car manage without its raucous four-cylinder soundtrack?
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